07: The Open-Office Trap

At least 70% of us in today’s world work, or have worked in, an office with an open-floor plan. In fact I’m sure I’d be pretty surprised if I saw cubicles-a remanant of an what seems like a long-forgotten era — in a tech company. The article on our reading list, “The Open-Office Trap”, looks at the cons of such a system.

Let me start by saying that every office I’ve ever worked in has had an open office floor plan, and I have always preffered it that way. I have memories of going to my father’s office and feeling claustrophobic just looking at the cubicles. Although, at the time, it made sense I guess, especially considering the fact that he ran a travel agency. Hospitality is not a really industry known for being too creative. Having said that however, his new office does employ a semi-open floor plan.

The article tackles the problems faced by companies that endorse the open floor plans, the top of the pile being the loss of privacy and the noise. I, however, don’t fully agree with either. Yes there is loss of privacy, but what sort of privacy? You don’t get to be on Facebook for extended periods of time? What travesty! You don’t get to waste company resources and time to look at pictures of cats on the internet. Also, let’s be honest, even with open offices we get to go on Facebook or Twitter using our smartphones.

Considering the problem of noise, I work in an office that has always has music playing on a bluetooth speaker. I have music playing on my laptop right now while writing this article. The way I see it, noise being a problem depends on the kind of work one is doing. A lot of tech companies nowadays have encourage employees to express themselves through more than just their work. Is that a hindrance? Not really. Considering that these companues also provide quiet spaces where one can have privacy and some quiet.

Overall, this article came through as a little curmudgeonly if anything. Open offices, if not as their original design, are here to stay in some shape or form.